International Gamer Awards 2008 Winners Announced

AgricolaThe winners for the 2008 General Strategy Category for the International Gamer Awards have been announced.

The winner for the General Strategy game in the Multi-Player category is: Agricola

Other nominees include:

1960 : The Making of a PresidentAnd the winner for the 2-player General Stratey Game is: 1960 The Making of a President.

Other nominees in this category include:

Cutthroat Caverns review

Cutthroat Caverns Cutthroat Caverns is a game of co-operative back-stabbing set in a fantasy world. Players familiar with Munchkin will find the feel of the game similar, though the mechanics and game-play are different. A fun, fast-moving game of backstabbing, this is a definite game for those who are looking for something different.

Appearance: Cutthroat Caverns is a card game and comes in a small, easily transportable card board box. Cards within are made up of thick stock, with specific character cards and monster cards being made of thicker stock card board. The only real art in the game comes on the monster cards and the character cards, all who are well drawn in the cartoon-style chosen. Overall, the artwork works, but is rather sparse.

Rules / Ease of Learning: Rules in Cutthroat Caverns are easy to learn, though the rules could have been better laid out. It certainly took us longer to read the rulebook than to understand how the game plays. Players start by choosing a character (doesn’t make a difference, characters have no special powers in the base game). They are then dealt a hand of cards, playing any items dealt into their hands straight away.

Each turn, the heroes face a monster. There are ten of these monsters, ranging in power and special abilities. Each monster deals damage in a specific manner and often have a special ability.

To fight the monster, players are dealt an ‘initiative’ card. Players then place an attack card down face down in front of them. Attack cards are then flipped over, dealing the stated amount of damage to the monster in order of initiative. This is the meat of the game, as players also have specific interrupt cards that can be played to harm other players or to adjust their initiative or to stop a player from dealing as much damage as he needs to.

The aim of Cutthroat Caverns is to be the player who survives the adventure and gathers the most prestige points – gained from landing a killing blow on an enemy monster. Of course, since monsters do damage, players can optionally ‘kill’ all the other players, but must be careful to do so late enough in the game to survive the encounter.

Actual Gameplay: Cutthroat Caverns plays pretty fast, with each round in combat taking only a few minutes. While the rules were long, a number of questions and errata came-up during initial play ( many times do we use a potion, when could you use it) but were easily resolved by house rules.

With the majority of the deck consisting of damage cards, it seemed easy enough to kill the monsters, but difficult to actually ‘harm’ other players. Also, while the bluffing element of the game did work to some extent, it did not expand to the level that we had expected.

On the other hand, the game certainly played a lot like Munchkin in the back-stabbing aspect. There was a lot of player-on-player confrontation, especially in the last round. However, again, the lack of actual action cards made this a more difficult proposition than Munchkin does.

Conclusion: Overall, Cutthroat Caverns was certainly fun to play but not necessarily a game that will hit the table often. It had a big advantage over its closest competitor – Munchkin– in that a game finished within an hour. However, the lack of sufficient action cards did make the game slightly more frustrating, especially with the amount of luck involved in the drawing of cards.

Edit: Many of these issues have been resolved in the expansions to the game – Deeper & Darker adds even more monsters and special powers for each character; Relics & Ruins adds a new event deck and special relics to the game and Tombs & Tomes adds an adventure module to the game and expands on the previous expansions even further.

Mea culpa

Hi everybody,

If you have been receiving e-mails from that would be us.  We are importing all our order information and customer information to a new CMS and started working on it at 9pm last night.

And didn’t realise it was auto e-mailing everyone on this.  We do apologise, we think we fixed it so that it won’t happen again (though the imports should be done unless something major breaks).

We are extremely excited about this new CMS  and the site will also be getting a new skin at the same time.  There will be a lot of new features with the site including the option for multiple photograph and a product comparison table as well as a more robust and better search system.

Expect to see a few links / screen shots as the site evolves.

Deutscher Spiele Preis awards

The Deutscher Spiele Preis awards were announced recently. For those of you who do not know, the Deutscher Spiele Preis is a German award that is voted on by gamers only and generally nominates and awards for the best Strategy Games of the year.

The following are the top 10 games in order of their rankings for 2008.

  1. Agricola – 2008 Deutscher Spiele Preis Winner
  2. Stone Age
  3. Cuba
  4. In the Year of the Dragon
  5. Tribune: Primus Inter Pares
  6. Hamburgum
  7. Galaxy Trucker
  8. Keltis
  9. Witch’s Brew
  10. Metropolys

Quick Guide to the Munchkin Series

Munchkin is Steve Jackson’s popular card game of monster killing, loot and back-stabbing. Known for its outrageous puns, amusing drawings and sly winks at roleplaying conventions, it’s a game that will elicit a smile from even the most dour faced dwarf (or its player).

Not surprisingly, Munchkin’s incredible success has led to a bewildering range of expansions and line extensions. The Quick Guide will focus only on the main games. Expansions to the games will be covered briefly in notes, but will not be discussed as the expansions, while adding more cards and humorous quips, rarely alter the game to any great degree.

Of note is the fact that Munchkin games can be combined with any other Munchkin game (and a special expansion – Munchkin Blender was introduced to make this even easier) to create a truly insane crossover experience.

Munchkin is the classic game of the series and is based on the Dungeons and Dragons / Fantasy theme. Players take on the role of a hero, without class (yes, that pun is made too) or race and must journey through the dungeons looking for monsters to fight to gain levels and loot to steal to make sure they live through the battles. During any fight, players may ask for help from other players (for a negotiated price) and must win the fight to level up. However, other players may also help the monster in the fight, making this a potentially challenging proposition. The first player to level 10 wins.

Munchkin has 6 expansions released, adding more races, classes and monsters in each expansion without altering the basic game-play.

Star Munchkin
Star Munchkin
Star Munchkin is the space themed version of Munchkin. Players can now have different species (which include the cat people, cyborgs and mutants) and occupations. The other major change from Munchkin is the inclusion of the ‘Lasers’ which may be added to other ‘laser’ cards of the same kind, providing an on-going ‘power-up’ to a single piece of equipment.

Star Munchkin has a single expansion set.

Munchkin Bites
Munckin Bites!
Munchkin Bites is Steve Jackson’s take on the World of Darkness. Taking pokes at the too serious WoD players, in Munchkin Bites you’ll have a chance to be all the popular WoD characters – werewolves, vampires, changeling and human. A new addition is the ‘Power Class’ system that has a rating of 1 – 3 that provides new abilities. These Power Class cards take the space of previous occupations or classes.

Munchkin Bites has a single expansion set.

Munchkin Fu
Munchkin Fu
Munchkin Fu is the world of Kung Fu fighting as seen by Steve Jackson. Its silly with monks, ninja and yakuza (the games equivalent of ‘race’) running around with different special fighting styles (that replace the ‘classes’ cards) battling different kinds of monsters. It’s all hokey fun, with the major change being the much wider variety of Kung Fu styles available.

Munchkin Fu has a single expansion set.

Super Munchkin
Super Munchkin
Super hero Munchkins. That’s all there is to needed to explain the theme of this variant. The rules are very familiar including the use of ‘Powers’ that may be combined to the limit of your level (just like in Munchkin Bites) while the addition of sidekicks (uncommon in most games without an expansion) and Origin cards that modify the rules. Overall, while a good game for those really into superheroes or comics, not a large draw.

Super Munchkin has a single expansion set.

Munchkin Impossible
Munchkin Impossible
Munchkin Impossible takes on the spy genre in its satirical sights. The least successful of the Munchkin games, the Impossible series adds only the ‘Faction’ cards to the game which define what countries the characters hail from.

Munchkin Impossible has no expansions.

Munchkin Cthulhu
Munchkin Cthulhu
A much more enterprising and humorous look at the popular HP Lovecraft derived horror games, Munchkin Cthulhu now adds a Monster version of the Laser (i.e. you can add any ‘Goth’ monster without a wandering monster card to the monsters battling the players) and a special case ‘Hero’ the Cultist.

Munchkin Cthulhu has 2 expansion sets.

The Good, the Bad and the Munchkin
The Good, the Bad and the Munchkin
The latest addition to the Munchkin line of games, this is Munchkin in the West. Sometimes considered just a ‘stretch’ of the Munchkin genre. In the GBtM, there are no races, just classes and the variant rule here is the ‘Steeds rule’ that were first introduced in the Munchkin 4: Need for a Steed expansion.

No expansions for the Good, the Bad and the Munchkin have been announced as yet.

Munchkin Booty
Munchkin Booty
Munchkin on the high seas. Announced to be released in 2008 but yet to be released, little is known at the moment about this latest variant of the popular Munchkin series.

Price changes

Some of you have probably expected this, but we have had to raise the prices of some of our product lines and will have to raise prices of others very soon.  Specifically, this has/is going to effect:

  • Days of Wonders (prices already increased)
  • Avalon Hill (prices already increased)
  • Fantasy Flight Games (will be increased)

With both the Canadian Dollar and increased cost of shipping for us, we have had our margins squeezed for the last few months.  When we were forced to go with Alliance for DoW and AH exclusively, we realised that we might be facing even higher cost.  We held off on any price increases till we could see the actual results, and it was, as we feared, a substantial increase in our cost.  We have received a worst discount rate with Alliance as well as incurring double our shipping cost.  The minimal price increases we have instituted will allow us to make a bare margin until we are able to work out a way to reduce shipping cost further.  If we are unable to, we will have to raise prices even further.

As for Fantasy Flight, they have instituted an entire line increase.  The cost for the games have increased for us, and we will be passing the costs on once we have run all our old stock of the games out (or when the price changes come into affect).  For more information, check out their website directly.

We hope that this is the last of the price increases for a while, but if the Loonie grows substantially weaker, we will be forced to increase our prices.

Site maintenance

As an FYI, the site will not be reachable for site maintenance starting at 8pm PST.  We are hoping that it only takes 20 minutes, but if not, the site will be available from 11pm PST at the latest.

If there are any issues with orders, do please contact us and we will be happy to help you.